French Tourist Attempted to Steal 41 kg of Pebbles from Sardinian Beaches
Italian border guards apprehended a French citizen who was attempting to illegally transport 41 kilograms of beach pebbles from Sardinia in the trunk of his car. This incident was reported by RTE.
The French individual had planned to embark on a ferry from the port of Porto Torres in Sardinia to Nice. However, during a routine inspection, customs officials along with representatives from the Sardinian Sea Port Administration discovered the illicit cargo in his vehicle.
"As a result of the inspection, it was found that the car's trunk contained 41 kilograms of pebbles and beach stones taken from the Lampianu beach, located in the municipality of Sassari," according to a statement from Italy's Customs and Monopolies Agency.
The man was found guilty of violating Sardinia's regional law governing tourism activities. According to this law, it is prohibited to transport "even small quantities of sand, stones, pebbles, or turtles from the coast or sea without proper authorization or concession."
Currently, the French tourist faces an administrative penalty ranging from 500 to 3000 euros, which will be determined by the local court. The collected pebbles were confiscated and returned to the beach. In a similar case in 2020, a French individual was fined 1000 euros in Sardinia after sand was seized from their luggage on the Italian island. Additionally, in August 2019, a French couple was arrested in Sardinia with 40 kilograms of sand in their vehicle.
Sardinia is known for its pristine beaches with unique sand ranging from pure white to dark pink. This sand is highly valued by tourists, making the island a target for theft of "natural souvenirs" over the years, such as sand, seashells, and stones. Illegal trade on the internet thrives, where these natural treasures can be sold for high prices.
Numerous beaches in Sardinia have signs in place to deter tourists from attempting sand theft. In some areas, guards have even been hired to monitor the coast. In 2017, the regional government passed a law that prohibits tourists from taking sand, pebbles, stones, or turtles from Sardinian beaches without permission. Possession, ownership, or sale of such items without local authority consent can incur fines ranging from 500 to 3000 euros.